President Uhuru Kenyatta has dismissed claims he is using the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) to fight his deputy William Ruto.
Uhuru yesterday said it was unfortunate that some politicians were fighting his efforts to unite the country by claiming they are being locked out of the BBI process.
“I find it very unfortunate that as I try to unite Kenya, some people feel that I am locking them out. I am not fighting any person. I am working for all the 47 million Kenyans,” said Uhuru.
The President and opposition chief Raila Odinga entered a unity pact on March 9 2018.
The pact was dubbed “handshake”. Dr Ruto and his allies have publicly opposed it as a scheme to block Ruto from ascending to the presidency.
Uhuru who addressed the nation from State House Mombasa yesterday, said he has not declared interest in extending his stay in office.
He also dismissed claims that he is using BBI to create political positions.
“BBI is not about creating positions. We are talking about how we are going to deal with corruption, youth unemployment and inequality so that after every election we do not have to fight each other,” the President said.
His allies, especially former Jubilee vice-chairperson David Murathe and Cotu Secretary General Francis Atwoli have insisted that he is still too young to retire from leadership.
They have suggested that he takes up the Prime Minister position after he completes his presidential term. They say if the envisioned constitutional amendments are effected, Uhuru can become premier.
The president’s remarks were an apparent response to Tangatanga - a Jubilee wing allied to Ruto.
Ruto and his team have increased their opposition to the BBI, claiming that it has been hijacked by Raila to craft his 2022 political lineup.
The Tangatanga wing has also voiced a plot to block Ruto from succeeding Uhuru, citing the persecution of some of the deputy president’s allies as evidence.
Ruto at the weekend declared his opposition to the BBI by discrediting the ongoing regional consultative meetings held by Raila as an avenue to engage in 2022 campaigns.
Uhuru yesterday insisted that BBI was the only thing that will save the country from the cycle of election-related violence.
He reiterated his stand that the country should come out of the winner-takes-all mentality which has created the violence.
“It is time for consensus. We are building it through the BBI process. In this process of renegotiation, all voices will be heard,” said the President.
“The BBI process is inclusive. It should spell the end of ethnic majoritarianism. It will be the end of winner-takes-all politics. We are on a path to end the cycle of election chaos. This is the only path to winning the economic kingdom.”
Uhuru also took a swipe at political leaders who are continuously politicking instead of pushing the development agenda.
“Political power pursued for its own sake will not make us the great nation we want to become. We must, therefore, use politics to shift the economy and address the plight of the most vulnerable members of our society,” he said.
“We must use politics to better the livelihoods of Kenyans. If we use politics as a means to a greater end, we will give it meaning.”
He said that there was need to give economic development priority as opposed to focusing on politics.
He noted that the trend of setting the country into a campaign mood all the time is what is impoverishing Kenyans.
“I want the economy to be a more important focus than politics. And this is because our practice throughout history has been to pursue the political kingdom as opposed to the economic kingdom. But that focus has been wrong. It is the reason we still have remnants of poverty despite the years of progress we have made.” the president said.
He cited 1960, 1990 and 2008 when the country came together and “renegotiated” its nationhood.
“We must give ourselves a different political template if we are to truly prosper and not be dragged down by never ending squabbling,” the President said.
“Every so often, the nation must come together and renegotiate its nationhood. We did it in Lancaster in the 1960s leading to the Lancaster Consensus. We did it in the 1990s, and then in 2008.”
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